Olivia is my niece. She will be 2 years old in August. No matter her mood, Skype sessions with Olivia are by far the most entertaining.
Here’s a breakdown of our “conversations”:
Me: Hi Olivia!
Olivia: Jumps up and down. Dances. Spins. I’m non-existent. Until…
Mom: Olivia, can you say “Hi” to Auntie Natalie?
Olivia: (On a good day) Jumps up and down. Spins. Waves hands vigorously. Hiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiii…..
(On a bad day): Shakes head violently from side to side. While spinning. No! No! No!
Me: Olivia, can Auntie Natalie have a kiss? (For some reason I refer to myself in third person).
Olivia: (On a good day) Leans in toward the computer and kisses my image on the screen. Giggles a lot. Precious! Or: Blows 10-15 kisses in a row. All of which I have to catch and then kiss and blow back.
(On a bad day) Grumbles. Shakes fists. Makes zero eye contact. No! No!
Mom: Olivia, can you show Auntie Natalie how you dance?
Olivia: Dada! (“dada” means “yes”)
Me: Mom, she is dancing. She doesn’t stop dancing!
Mom: Right. Olivia, let’s sing a song for Auntie Natalie!
Two warbly voices mingle together. Grandmother and granddaughter are equally off key and pitchy as they sing “Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star.” But what I really notice is Olivia’s pronunciation of the words in the song – spoken just like her British grandmother! (My brother had a strong accent as a child).
Olivia gets tired of singing when she notices a squirrel in the backyard. She wants me to watch her watch the squirrel. Inevitably she will knock over the web cam or mute the volume on the computer (or both). If she mutes the volume this could mean the end of the conversation as my mom struggles to un-mute. We may try lip reading for a while if we’re up to it.
When it’s time to say goodbye Olivia is still dancing, or jumping, or running back and forth across the family room. She is not what you would call a calm child. Once after watching a video of our “Motor-home Vacation” from 1988 my brother commented (regarding my wild ways), “You look like a savage who’s encountered civilization for the first time!”
More recently he commented that his daughter takes after her Aunt Natalie in that respect.
Me: Goodbye Olivia! I love you!
Olivia: Looooove yoooou!
Me: I miss you!
Olivia: Miisssss youuuu! Bye-bye! Bye-bye! Bye-bye! Waves hands. Blows kisses.
I’m excited to spend some real-life time with my niece in just a couple of months. And with her new little sister arriving shortly after!